Feature image SF Ballet’s Sensory Friendly Dance Workshop 2019 // © Gulsum N
Secondary image Norika Matsuyama in Tomasson’s Nutcracker // © Erik Tomasson

San Francisco Ballet Announces Its First Sensory Friendly Performance of Nutcracker

by | Nov 22, 2022

San Francisco Ballet is holding its first-ever Sensory Friendly Performance, held Wednesday, December 21 at 7 pm during Helgi Tomasson’s Nutcracker. Presented in collaboration with Autism Society San Francisco Bay Area, SF Ballet’s Sensory Friendly Performance includes special accommodations to Nutcracker and the theater-going experience to make neurodiverse audiences and small children feel welcome to experience ballet in a fun, accepting environment. 

“This is a major step for San Francisco Ballet to connect with more communities across the Bay Area and to share the magic of Nutcracker with a wider audience,” said SF Ballet Executive Director Danielle St.Germain. “Since 2015, our Education and Training Department has presented sensory friendly workshops and relaxed dress rehearsals specially curated for people with autism and special needs. We are thrilled to expand on these opportunities and present a Sensory Friendly Performance for the first time in our nearly 90-year history as a company.”

“As a musician, and parent of an autistic son, I’m especially sensitive to how much music and dance can touch the hearts of people with autism and special needs,” said Stephen Prutsman, a concert pianist and composer, and president of Autism Society San Francisco Bay Area. “The holiday season can be stressful and isolating for autism and special needs families, so for a world-class company like San Francisco Ballet to open its doors and welcome our community is a landmark for the entire ballet world, and a tremendous gift for us.”

This full-length Sensory Friendly Performance of Nutcracker takes place in a relaxed, shush-free, and shame-free environment for audience members of all ages and abilities, including people with autism, sensory input disorders, sensory sensitivities, or other physical, cognitive, or developmental disabilities, and their families, friends, and caretakers. Expectations for audience etiquette will be relaxed, talking or vocalizing is accepted, and patrons can move freely in their seats and at the aisles during the performance, within appropriate safety parameters.

More information about Sensory Friendly adaptations can be found below. Although the Sensory Friendly Performance is adapted specifically to accommodate individuals with special needs and/or sensory sensitivities, the general public is welcome to attend.

Learn more and purchase tickets here


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This press release is published here courtesy of San Francisco Ballet.  Click here to learn more.

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